I looked forward to giggles,
and ice cream kisses,
crayon letters and
sidewalk art.

I saved your fingerprints,
and your phone messages.

I photographed your smiles, tears, and silly faces.
I played like a true playmate.
And while you slept,
 I journaled these magic moments in my heart.

And I worried,
but not about the everyday stuff
of making beds, washing dishes, or paying bills.
I worried that there would never be enough
time with you.

I feared that all my love and energy
could not stop time from passing too quickly
to capture enough of you.

I was right.

I wrote this poem for my granddaughter, Avery, when she was almost four years old. It was a season in our lives when I was moving to another state and she was moving on to another babysitter. I felt like someone had ripped a hole into my chest – an Avery shaped hole. I could not imagine someone else experiencing her day to day – the precious hugs, the infectious smile, the silly songs.

As I was reading the poem this week, I thought about the many parents and grandparents who are sending their children off to school. Some hitting milestones like our Avery, who is starting middle school, and our Myles, who begins Kindergarten. Others will join the ranks in high school or move away to college, while some are somewhere in the middle of their schooling careers. There will be tears of sadness and shouts for joy, and in some households a little of both.

This season caused a reminiscence and reflection time for me. I couldn’t help but sit and think about the truth statement, “every thing can change in an instant”. Like the moment this summer when Avery told me that she was done playing with baby dolls. But hadn’t she just ask for one last Christmas? “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man (6th grader), I put away childish things,” 1 Corinthians 13: 11. And when Anthony, our then junior in college, announced that he had met the girl he was going to marry – “but I found the one whom my soul loves,” Song of Solomon 3:4. I vowed, then and there, to love her too because this is my baby boy and I would honor his wishes. Or, the day Blake walked off the softball field and said that she was finished. We knew it had been a good run and that life is much more than a field and a bat and a ball. Still, a long standing dream came to an end much sooner for Blake than for us I’m afraid. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand,” Proverbs 19:21. And finally last Wednesday, with the Facebook post of little Miss Myles in her Kindergarten snapback, it hit me like a brick. My grand babies are both in school! Not my kids – but my grandkids!

Cliches come flooding in: “don’t blink,” “time flies,” “you’re gonna miss this,” “once you’ve lost it you’ll never get it back”. And the words of James 4:14 resonate with my soul, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” A vapor – poof.

And, I feel compelled to say that you just won’t capture enough, but please capture all that you can…

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